Grand Haven High School’s Bucco has been transformed from a buccaneer head to a full hat-to-boot mascot costume. The redesign effort was a year in the making and designed by a GHHS alumnus.
Beginning last year, Taylor Schriber and Tom Puleo started efforts to develop a new look for Bucco. Puleo, a GHHS social studies teacher and a Student Senate adviser, noted the mascot’s costume had become dated and seen better days.
“We thought it needed an upgrade,” said Schriber, a GHHS business teacher and assistant athletic director.
Puleo reached out to a former classmate, Paul Trap, to design the mascot’s new look. Trap graduated from GHHS in 1980 and is an editorial cartoonist for Baseball America magazine. He also has a syndicated comic strip, “Thatababy.”
For inspiration, Trap used the district’s buccaneer logo — a pirate with a captain’s hat, eye patch, earring and facial hair. He added a captain’s jacket, muscles and a scar to show Bucco is “battle tested.”
The costume’s head includes a fan and the suit has a cooling vest.
Trap said he was “thrilled” to redesign Bucco, and thanked Schriber and Puleo for the opportunity to work on the project with them. He noted that some of what he learned in his high school classes was also used during the design process.
When Bam Mascots of Canada sent a 3-D rendering back of Trap’s sketch, Trap said he noticed something off about Bucco’s eye. Trap said he recalled a lesson from his high school days about rendering a human eye and made changes to it.
The GHHS Student Senate paid about $6,000 for the new costume.
When the new Bucco debuted during a basketball game last week, Schriber said the response was positive.
Students are currently auditioning to be the mascot. Since the costume is more elaborate and the person inside it has their identity completely hidden, it’s an opportunity for someone to take on a “Bucco persona,” Puleo said.
Previously, GHHS staff and students wore the Bucco head, but there wasn’t a formal process to being the mascot.
Given Bucco’s busy schedule between sporting events and visiting other Grand Haven school buildings, they’re looking to have several students available to be Bucco. The plan is to keep Bucco’s identity a secret, much like the students who step into the role of Michigan State University’s Sparty. And like Sparty, there are plans for Bucco to have a student assistant during outings.
Bucco’s revamped look is also another way to improve school spirit, Puleo said.
“We’re excited about the future of Bucco, and the future where this will take us,” Schriber said.